Blogger's Note: The following was provided in a press release.
The Hill School, the Borough of Pottstown, the Pottstown School District, and Montgomery County Community College will partner to complete two Pottstown CARES events this spring: a clean-up event on Friday, April 10, and a special mural painting project scheduled to take place in late May through mid-June.
On Friday, April 10, participants will pick up trash and recycling and participate in other “spruce up” efforts ranging from raking to painting picnic benches. Activities will occur from about 8:45 a.m. to noon at Riverfront Park, Memorial Park, the Ricketts Center, and downtown streets, parks, and playgrounds. Work crews will include Borough employees and all fourth form (10th grade) students and faculty from The Hill School, about 30 Pottstown High School students, and Montgomery County Community College volunteers. A group of Hill students also will work to create new garden spaces and compost bins on Hill’s campus. All participants will meet under the former hockey rink on The Hill campus at 8:45 a.m.
The Riverfront and Memorial Park activities have been registered as Great American Cleanup events, which will allow the CARES groups to utilize bags, gloves, and safety vests provided by PennDOT in Norristown. The Hill School will provide lunch to all volunteers following the clean-up.
The mural project will occur adjacent to the MOSAIC Community Garden at 423 Chestnut Street.
Pottstown CARES and MOSAIC Community Land Trust are thrilled to announce that – after two years of planning -- a mural designed by Pottstown-based artist Carrie Kingsbury will be created on the wall bordering the MOSAIC garden space at 427 Chestnut St. The careful process has included obtaining permission of the building property owner as well as a required conditional use permit and local support. The conditional use process requires a public hearing before Pottstown Borough Council which is planned for May 8.
Ellen Nelson, arts department chairperson at The Hill School, has been working with CARES on the mural concept. During the inaugural CARES clean-up in the fall of 2013, she and several arts students surveyed area residents about what they’d like to see represented in a neighborhood mural.
Finding Kingsbury was “synchronicity,” Nelson says. “I didn’t know of one, or where to look. Several weeks after starting to help plan the project, Carrie spontaneously sent an email to me out of the blue – and she lives right here in Pottstown. Angels work in wondrous ways!” she exclaims.
Kingsbury submitted sketches to MOSAIC in January 2015. While the concepts were being reviewed by MOSAIC and neighborhood residents, work also was taking place to obtain paint donations from the local Sherwin Williams store and provision of scaffolding and other supplies from The Hill School.
CARES also gratefully acknowledges the donation of labor from Reinhart Painting which has offered to do all of the wall preparation at the site.
Funds for the artist’s work, various permits, and supplies will come from a donation from MOSAIC as well as The Hill’s arts department and a generous contribution from The Hill School’s Pottstown community service-related 3758 Fund, established by Rodney D. Day III ’58 in honor of his father, Rodney D. Day, Jr. ’37. In addition, MOSAIC and The Hill School sold magnets bearing a message of support for the community gardens and the mural; funds from that fall sale also are supporting the mural project.
On May 18, following site preparation by the artist, Nelson will join Kingsbury in beginning to paint the mural. Nelson is hopeful that students from The Hill and the advanced art classes of Pottstown High School will assist with painting on Sunday, May 24, while she and Kingsbury continue painting during the following weeks, with a June 13 conclusion target.
The initial, joint CARES (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Empowerment, and Sustainability) endeavor was conceived in the spring of 2013 during conversations between Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Pottstown School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Sparagana, and Hill School Headmaster Zachary Lehman. The three leaders envisioned a collaborative project that would help to “spruce up” a designated area in the core of Pottstown while boosting community pride. In 2014, Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus joined the CARES planning team. The CARES organization hopes these events will motivate Pottstown residents to engage in ongoing clean-ups of their own in their immediate neighborhoods.